Sunday, August 31, 2008

quot homines, tot sententiae

Continuing with debate over the proper place of the Virgin Mary: Derek responded with Denuo..., and I should like to say a few things as well.

Where better to begin than with a quote von Balthasar: One is ashamed for a Christianity which today is ashamed of its own Mother. (tr. Aidan Nichols)

Derek says: Show me the evidence, Scotist, that this was held by the undivided Church, and I’ll be happy to consider it more deeply. It is hard to know what level of evidence if desired, but there are some interesting bits and pieces from the Church Fathers--I presume Bernard, Bonaventure, and the like do not count, or at least do not count as much:

Expanding on one of the "causa salutis" reference of an earlier post, here is Irenaeus:
Just as Eve, wife of Adam, yet still a virgin, became by her disobedience the cause of death for herself and the whole human race, so Mary, too, espoused yet a virgin, became by her obedience the cause of salvation for herself and the whole human race. (Adversus haeresus, III, 22)

And again from Irenaeus in the same work: And as by the action of the disobedient virgin, man was afflicted and, being cast down, died, so also by the action of the Virgin who obeyed the word of God, man being regenerated received, through life, life . . . For it was meet and just . . . that Eve should be "recapitulated" in Mary, so that the Virgin, becoming the advocate of the virgin, should dissolve and destroy the virginal disobedience by means of virginal obedience. (Ibid, III, 22,24)

St. Jerome put it briefly (Ep, 22, 21): Death through Eve, life through Mary.

Modestus of Jerusalem has it that through Mary we are redeemed from the tyranny of the devil. (Patrologia Graeca 86, 3287)

John Damascene addressing Mary: Hail though whom we are redeemed from the curse.
(Patrologia Graeca 86, 658)

There 's a neat saying from Augustine: Christ is truth, Christ is flesh: Christ truth in the mind of Mary, Christ flesh in the womb of Mary. (Sermo 25, Sermones inediti, 7: PL 46, 938)

And in that spirit, a bit from Origen's Commentary on John: The Gospels are the first fruits of all Scripture and the Gospel of John is the first of the Gospels: no one can grasp its meaning without having leaned his head on Jesus' breast and having received from Jesus Mary as Mother.

This is just a list I pieced together; it is not exhaustive, but might serve as a ground floor to the discussion, as all of it would be accessible free of charge to anyone with Google. Anyway, maybe there is enough here to merit further serious consideration. Although such quotes might be explained away individually--no great feat--that strategy is beside the point. Rather, we were seeking evidence for an appropriate base of belief or practice in the "undivided" church which might have found faithful articulation in the fifth Marian dogma. Such quotes, from diverse authorities spanning centuries, seem to me to constitute the desired evidence justifying further inquiry, or deeper consideration. This call for deeper consideration is not much--granted. And there is no demonstration of my case from these quotes--granted.

To Derek's section II, I shall have to plead ignorance. There is too much in Lumen Gentium which I cannot claim to understand, though it seems to me anyone holding to the analogy of faith would disavow any consideration of a Marian dogma apart from other dogmas; abstraction would produce new content. As I believe RC theologians generally take the analogy of faith seriously, they would seem to have to prefer considering Marian dogmas only as part of a greater dogmatic whole. Of course, that's not quite what I am doing, as the greater dogmatic whole a RC theologian might recognize is probably something I would not recognize.

The real difference between us, quotes from the Fathers et al aside, seems to be the distinction Derek draws in his section IV between doctrine and dogma. He writes dogmas are absolute and binding in a way that the more general term doctrine does not require, as a dogma is a belief we must hold about the faith, whereas a doctrine is a belief we actually hold. He might entertain the fifth dogma as a doctrine, something some hold where he thinks we may see popular devotion gone awry, but there is no sufficient basis, he seems to say, for regarding it as dogma.

I can live with that--both the doctrine/dogma distinction and the rejection of the dogma. Why? He is willing to tolerate Marian devotion as a doctrine, even if not as a dogma. And indeed though I think it really is a dogma, proving that in Anglican terms, from Scripture, might be impossible. There is no reason, as an Anglican and an Episcopalian, I have to convert him and others to belief in the fifth dogma as dogmatic, however desirable conversion would be.

Moreover, and perhaps more controversially, the text Derek quotes from the RC Catechism defining dogma as truth in a form obliging the Christian people to an irrevocable adherence of faith has a certain looseness to it. A devotee of Rahner, familiar with the notion of an anonymous Christian, might think there could be anonymous Marians as well.

That is to say, even an Anglican who would think the propositional articulation of the fifth dogma is in error could nevertheless be a Marian in spite of himself, were he disposed to regard Christ with the heart of Mary. In that case, he might have a faithful relation to the dogma in question--an irrevocable adherence as it were. True, the fullest adherence for a rational animal might include propositional articulation, but adherence might well be possible in the absence of such articulation, or even in the presence of a contrary affirmation, as when words are uttered contrary to the inward disposition.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

erga veritatem

In reply to Derek's Contra Scotistam I, I'd like to defend some of the points I made earlier about Mary--though I have to reinterate my disavowal of expertise and experience. Others with more exposure to Mariology should do better than I can, or at least be more accurate; caveat lector.

Doctrine develops, and it develops naturally from devotion.

Whence the Chalcedonian definition? I should say: development from reflection on sacred text, sacred practice, and secondary theology--development that worked. Verily, saying

Thus, early devotion to the BVM as I see it was not fundamentally about doctrine. [But is any devotion fundamentally about doctrine?] Yes, there certainly was doctrine about the BVM, but as Christopher notes, it was in relation to Christology

would not preclude that early devotion developing into a separate doctrine, even a true doctrine. The contingent historical practices of ancient patronage making that early devotion intelligible as an historical phenomenon need not be essential parts of the developed doctrine. Just so, contemporary doctrine articulating the need for obedience to the last commandment of the Decalogue does not require taking women as property; nor do the inital commandments require henotheism. And rightly so.

One may see Mary as the Church--"here is your mother"--in SoS commentaries and elsewhere; that symbolism is consistent with taking Mary to be Mediatrix. In fact, it seems to set up a structure crying out for just such doctrine. The schema I threw around was:

the Father---the Son---Mary---the Bishop(---the Priest)---the People.

Nothing precludes the schema being elaborated thus:

the Father--the Son--the Church [Mary--....].

That would be to say the Father is normally mediated to the people through the Son only in the Church, where Mary represents the Church before Christ.

The gist of what Derek wants to say, the main point I think, is here:

The bottom line for me is this: Yes, Anglicans should honor Mary, giving her the veneration she is due....But does this mean we must embrace modern Roman dogmas in her regard, especially the contentious issue of “co-redemptrix”? I think not. Yes, our salvation comes through her as she bore the Christ and shared with him her humanity, but redemption proper is a function of the Uncreated Godhead. If she were to be “co-redemptrix” for her role, by extension the patriarchs must also become “co-redeemers” for their role in the unfolding of salvation according to both the flesh and the spirit. (And you won’t see the Roman church pushing for that anytime soon…) So, devotion to Mary? By all means. Scholastic dogmas of Mary? Unnecessary, I think. Illicit? No, I don’t think that either—but not required.

First, I do not think that the argument beginning with "If she were to be "co-redemptrix"... is sound. What the Roman church pushes or does not push for is not a necessary criterion for how doctrine should develop. More importantly, the roles of the Patriarchs differed from that of Mary. While they contributed to the history of salvation, their contribution was significantly different from Mary's. In virtue of that difference, her contribution might merit a different title.

Well, what's the difference? Picture Mary and Abraham witnessing the life of Jesus. They would see the same events of the very same life, but they would see them differently inasmuch as Mary has a connection to Jesus that Abraham does not simply from the fact she is his mother and he is not.

You might say--and this is very close to my main point--Abraham knows something like what Mary knows when he takes Isaac away to be sacrificed. Kierkegaard mentions this likeness in Fear and Trembling, though he does not make anything of it in terms of Marian doctrine: both Abraham and Mary are paradigms of faith. In Kierkegaard's treatment, Abraham's first-person experience of taking Isaac out to be sacrificed matters; indeed it is essential to the truth God wishes to communicate in Genesis 18 et al.

Just so, Mary's first-person experience of Jesus' life matters. Is it essential to the truth God wishes to communicate?

It seems Derek would say "No!" here. That is, it seems according to him you do not need to see Jesus as she saw him; nothing essential to the faith is gained by it. Whatever she knew of Jesus that was peculiar to her is a remainder that well remains with her alone, with no ultimately significant loss to us.

Of course I disagree with this hypothetical Derek, and say "Yes". Genuine faith in Jesus requires grace, at least so that we might regard the object of our belief, the Jesus of the Gospels--Jesus as Mary knew him--with grace. That is, not as a patron with whom I negotiate a mutual exchange or from whom I first and foremost get what I want, but as beloved.

Of course Abraham and Mary are not exactly parallels: e.g. Abraham's faith was not formed by the actual sacrifice of Isaac; Mary was not so fortunate with Jesus; Mary saw the life of Jesus unfold with a type of grace that Abraham lacked in seeing Isaac. So far as I can tell, these differences would intensify the significance of Mary's first-person experience of Jesus. Coming to regard Jesus as beloved, in grace, is sharing the most relevant and essential aspect of Mary's experience of Jesus. There is no other type of love fitting for him.

I call having this love for Jesus that Mary had "having the heart of Mary", and then went on to say:

anyone who partakes of the Eucharist without the heart of Mary fails to discern the Body in its fullness, and fails to partake with the fullness of meritorious faith.

That still seems right to me. If it is, then there is a sense in which grace is mediated to the Church through Mary, though that grace does not originate with her, and the work of redemption Christ completed is not her work.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Speculation on Marian Devotion: Hardcore Anglo-catholicism

I come at Roman Catholic praxis from way, way outside; my early contact with Christ came via Jehovah's Witnesses. Thus I do not get that bent out of shape over Spong et al. But in the past I have been quite alarmed at the clear trend in the Roman Catholic Church toward the promulgation of additional Marian dogma which gives her the titles of "Co-redemptrix" and "Mediatrix"; it seemed some might be led into regarding her as somehow divine, as another Christ. So far as I can tell, that is not the intent of the dogma at all, but then one might ask, what is its intent? It seems the teaching authority of the Roman Catholic Church stands or suffers on exactly this question, at least for those looking in.

I. Statements & the Drive for Promulgating the Dogma

Irenaeus had referred to her as causa salutis rather early on; St. Antonius (c. 300) had said "All graces that have ever been bestowed on men, all came through Mary." "All" is rather strong--and is sure in some quarters to raise eyebrows and ire, no? St. Bernard says Mary is "the gate of heaven, because no one can enter that blessed kingdom without passing through her"; St. Bonaventure speaks at greater length in a very important passage:

As the moon, which stands between the sun and the earth, transmits to this latter whatever it receives from the former, so does Mary pour out upon us who are in this world the heavenly graces that she receives from the divine sun of justice.

I suppose instances of support from tradition could be multiplied, and it ought to give one pause: is it all just poetic fluff, or is there something more serious here? Consider the line of relatively recent Popes who have promulagted the doctrine:

Pius X: We are then, it will be seen, very far from attributing to the Mother of God a productive power of grace - a power which belongs to God alone. Yet, since Mary carries it over all in holiness and union with Jesus Christ, and has been associated by Jesus Christ in the work of redemption, she merits for us de congruo, in the language of theologians, what Jesus Christ merits for us de condigno, and she is the supreme Minister of the distribution of graces.

Benedict XV: As the Blessed Virgin Mary does not seem to participate in the public life of Jesus Christ, and then, suddenly appears at the stations of his cross, she is not there without divine intention. She suffers with her suffering and dying son, almost as if she would have died herself. For the salvation of mankind, she gave up her rights as the mother of her son and sacrificed him for the reconciliation of divine justice, as far as she was permitted to do. Therefore, one can say, she redeemed with Christ the human race.

Pius XII: It was she, the second Eve, who, free from all sin, original or personal, and always more intimately united with her Son, offered Him on Golgotha to the Eternal Father for all the children of Adam, sin-stained by his unhappy fall, and her mother's rights and her mother's love were included.

JPII: Mary, though conceived and born without the taint of sin, participated in a marvellous way in the suffering of her divine Son, in order to be Co-Redemptrix of humanity....

As she was in a special way close to the cross of her Son, she also had to have a privileged experience of his Resurrection. In fact, Mary's role as Co-Redemptrix did not cease with the glorification of her Son.

Mother Theresa and cardinal O'Connor signed on to Mark Miravalle's drive from the '90s to call on JPII to promulgate the dogma--a drive that has gathered six million signatures from 148 countries, including over 40 cardinals and 500 bishops. That's bigger than GC--and Lambeth, I dare say. The drive continues under Benedict XVI--and opposition to promulgation seems not to come within the RCC on theological grounds, but rather merely pragmatic grounds: the timing is not right; Protestants etc will be unduly alarmed. Ladies and gents, it is only a matter of time. What's going on here?

What's an Anglo-catholic to do? There is a strong case for getting on board, it seems to me.

II. Inside the Dogma, so far as I can tell
The problem is simply that we--and all of creation--are broken off, contrary to our natures, from the Father. The whole point is to get back to him. An additional problem: we are very, very low, and the Father is very, very high--we are bound to mess up the effort to get back to him unless he makes a special effort to "bridge the gap." One could from a Christian point of view look at religions outside the Judeo-Christian line as attempts to get back to the Father that have gone awry in various ways; it is not as if we have not tried, as if we could stop trying. But we will never get it right on our own.

Hence the Advent of the Word in flesh, the Bridge that crosses the Abyss, who makes it possible for us to approach the Source, the One, God as Father, even Daddy. Hence Christ in his
life among us, his Crucifixion and Resurrection, makes it possible for us to return to the Father: he is our Mediator; we could say it in a schema like this:

the Father---the Son---the People

since it would not work to simply leave it as:

the Father---the People.

And I think lots of Christians would be quite happy to leave things at that: Christ is our Mediator; we need a relationship with him, and through him we are reconciled with all creation to the Father--true so far as it goes.

But there's a problem: Christ has ascended. Can't deny it: it's right there in the Creeds, in Scripture, in tradition. And it's obvious to experience: search the world, and you will not find the risen Lord strolling through Jerusalem. Is he just gone then? Has he abandoned us? How could he possibly mediate grace through which we might be reconciled to the Father if he is simply gone? Well, he is present through the Holy Spirit. How exactly? In lots of ways, but most especially in the sacraments, in the Holy Eucharist. So: the mediation of Christ is itself mediated by the Eucharist; but the Eucharist cannot mediate on its own, which is to say our schema is now a bit more complicated:

the Father---the Son---the Bishop(---the Priest)---the People

And many more Christians will be happy to leave things at that--and many high Anglicans too, I suspect. Here is where the Marian dogmas come in: the mediation of grace from the Son through the Bishop must itself be mediated--in the salvation economy of this state. But by whom? Mary; hence our schema will look like this:

the Father---the Son---Mary---the Bishop(---the Priest)---the People

What's the point? Succinctly: anyone who partakes of the Eucharist without the heart of Mary fails to discern the Body in its fullness, and fails to partake with the fullness of meritorious faith--of course such partaking is possible only through grace, not by our own fiat.

The point is there is more to the needed discernment than what the intellect alone could possibly provide. What matters is a reception of the sacrament with a will aligned to that of God's--a will suffused with holy charity. Do not partake of the sacrament thinking "Thus I shall escape Hell" or "With this I shall enter heaven" or the like; that is not genuine charity, and signifies a will out of alignment with that of God. It is not genuine love that loves for what one will get in return; such "love" is fallen, suffused with sin, vitiated and of itself without merit. What then? Love God for who God is; when you know that Christ is in the sacrament, you are to love him for who he is, not for what he can do for you.

Yes, an instrumental approach to Christ might be useful as a beginning, but only as a beginning to the reception of the sacrament in grace, where Christ is loved simply for who Christ is: true reception in the Spirit. But how? What would such grace look like from within? Here we come to Mary: Mary free from sin is able to love her son as we fallen are unable to love at all. To the extent we are able to love Christ with genuine charity, we love him with the same type of love that Mary loved him--all through grace of course. We see him with eyes of grace, with her eyes, inasmuch as we can only approach hm through the Gospels, i.e. through the very mysteries by which she knew him. So we should learn to regard Christ with her eyes, with her heart, and in that regard we come to discern him in fullness. Hence the point of developing Marian devotion: one becomes with God's help disposed to charity.

On this view, the Bishop and Priest are--considered strictly--like empty vessels, vehicles conveying grace through the Eucharist and essentially no more. The living content in the Eucharist, the presence of the Lord for us, passes through the lens of Mary--as it were--in the sacrament. After all, one can learn all this from the unordained; a teaching bishop is strictly accidental. Likewise, Bishops and priests are only accidentally fitting models for mimesis; even corrupt clergy may still be vehicles for the Eucharist, but Mary is always a fitting mimetic model.

Anyhow, this is the core of what I can make of the Marian dogmas. There is more, and there are other angles to take, but this one seemed apt.

III. And Anglicans?
To the extent Roman Catholics, driving to promulgate this doctrine, love their neighbors, they will wish to bring their neighbors closer to God, as Christ commanded, for instance. Given the truth of the schema above with Mary playing a role as Mediatrix, promulgating the dogma would be of some importance, especially to fellow Chistians; otherwise they are obstructed from the fullness of reconciliation. Thus pragmatic considerations are of immense import; if Protestants are not ready to receive, promulgation may drive them further into alienation from the Father. How then to prepare them to receive?

It seems to me that the Anglican Communion could contribute something here, even now. On the one hand, its members have succeeded here and there in drawing mainline Protestant fragments together: Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians even. To that extent, modest Anglican devotion to Mary has an opportunity to grow in other mainline churches. And to the extent that succeeds, the right time, the kairos, for promulgation draws nearer. To the extent, however, the AC is drawn over into a modern, Calvinist orbit, one wherein Marian devotions are dismissed with scorn, that day recedes further away.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Back to Business

Having been at this thing for a while, I thought it might be useful to compile some of the writings on this blog about GC2003's presenting issues: ordaining Robinson and blessing SSUs.

Oddly enough, the controversy brought me to active membership within the Episcopal Church once I saw that the decisions of GC2003 were rooted in what I thought was a persuasive, antecedently developed theology. It seemed--indeed it still seems--that controversy raged without serious theological engagement, despite what seemed to be an obvious opportunity. Now I would say with more confidence that the dearth of engagement from critics of GC2003 is deliberate, and not a matter of ignorance or oversight.

Some links:

Episcopal Argument & my Argument
An Older Version of my Argument
the Oldest Version
& Subsequent Debate:

Charles I

Against Kendall Harmon's "Sex Without Form and Void"

Reply to Witt

Against Harding's Critique of the Episcopal Church's Argument

On "Claiming our Anglican Identity"

Kennedy on Heresy

the homosexuals/ homosexual activity distinction

homosexuality and the Holocaust

the church and the ordination of active homosexuals


sexuality and personhood

reconciliation and SSUs


Seitz on plain sense

the AAC and plain sense

Nigeria's laws

Lambeth 1998 1.10

Lambeth 1998 and epistemic humility

epistemic humility

defending epistemic humility against Harding

reading Romans I:26-7

plain sense and metaphysics

ACI on plain sense

more defense of epistemic humility against Harding

Against Gagnon

Monday, August 04, 2008

Post Lambeth: This is Going to Take Alot of Work

It seems to me Theo Hobson is right:

Yet liberal Anglicanism failed to make a stand. There were obviously lots of angry noises, but they didn't add up to anything. Amazingly enough, Williams' call for patience was generally heeded. The nature of liberal Anglicanism quietly shifted. It became meek before the rise of evangelical orthodoxy.

Is it still possible to be a liberal Anglican? Not in the old way. Liberal Anglicans have to follow Williams onto the high wire, to some extent. By staying within an institution that has taken an anti-liberal turn, they collude in his act. In other words, liberal Anglicans have been Rowanised. They buy his long-range hope for reform that the church as a whole can accept.

Many on the Anglican left who supported GC2003 or the like have, in fact, followed Williams up onto the high wire, remaining within an institution lurching rightward in hope of something better coming in the future: extending the reforms of GC2003 et al would be all that much harder were the Anglican Communion to split. "Moratoria or marginalization" is clearly the message, whether it can be enforced or not.

This sort of message is not too surprising from Williams. He is not sympathetic to political liberalism, and although there is an element of liberation theology in his work, he does not seem to have been formed by anything analogous to the Civil Rights movement in the US--which seems to me to have decisively impacted the moral sensibilities of Episcopalian bishops. Liberation themes in his work--I have Resurrection in mind--could well indicate Williams will not tolerate acting so as to cast off provinces in the developing world, come what may, even if their primates and policies are offensive for one reason or another. He would rather call for sacrifice and toleration from the developed world than lose them--and from a certain scriptural point of view that kind of strategy is cogent.

That is to say Williams intentionally burdens the Episcopal Church, Canada, and any province sympathetic to GC2003 et al with the task of bringing the other provinces "on board." He simply will not assist; it is not in his job description, and it would risk driving away just the provinces with which he most wishes to keep in communion.

We are in the position of having to "thread the needle":

Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ (NRSV, Mt. 19:23-4)

We are like the rich person seeking to enter the kingdom of heaven--rich relative to other provinces. We have our problems, to be sure, but whether one considers FGM and the institutions of child marriage and honor killing, or infant and maternal mortality, or per capita GDP, literacy, economic and political freedom--and so on--it is clear that we have a vast array of advantages, much of which is ours from luck.

For us, in the midst of this wealth--this power--to cultivate something like poverty of spirit or meekness is like a camel going through the eye of a needle. The temptations to discard genuine meekness and poverty of spirit are just too strong. After all, we have arguments, hermeneutics, and what seems to be a slowly gathering international consensus on our side; we feel we are in the right, that it is a justice issue, that fidelity to the Good is at stake and fidelity to our own outcasts, the gay Christians in our congregations and even more outside looking in. And so far as I can tell these feelings are correct.

It seems to me our House of Deputies--accurately representing the vast weight of the laity and clergy--is considerably further to the left of the bishops. And it seems that way in England too; I would conjecture to many in the Church of England, Williams seems like some far-out, out-of-touch old man. And he probably is very much so. He and our bishops are in danger of being brushed aside, swept away--as we saw Williams brushed aside in the CoE's proceedings on ordaining women to the episcopate.

But remember these words from our Teacher:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

There is simply no sense in turning our advantages in political power and moral theology into more self-righteous hypocrisy; the church has plenty of that as it is. Abusing our power will not leave us happy in the end. Perhaps it is worth considering whether we should take on the poverty Williams requires of us, whether we should take on this poverty even if it should bring mourning with it, even as the thirst for righteouosness goes unabated. The last bit from the quote above grabbed my attention: it seemed to imply poverty of spirit can go with the prophetic calling. There is no inconsistency between answering the prophetic call and the moral standard of the Beatitudes.

In plain English that must imply consenting to the moratoria does not mean betraying our gay brothers and sisters. Though it seems impossible, foolish even to try--like the camel going through the needle's eye--nevertheless there is a way, there must be a way.

When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astounded and said, ‘Then who can be saved?’ But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.’

Again, in plain English, here are some tentative suggestions about what this might come to in concrete terms: at the very least, the work of building a case for the actions of GC2003 should continue. And we might well admit that the theological case for those actions can be made better, clearer, more persuasively. If the rest of the Communion is to brought over to our side--seeing that right wing assistance from the developed world will not soon abate--the making of a more cogent case should be a priority.

Then we should also bring agitation for civil rights for gays in Nigeria et al to the fore; that issue should receive a much higher profile in the affairs of the Communion. And there will be sacrifices--as when pastoral affairs at the parish level grind against moratoria at the Communion level. Father Dudley is something of an icon here--it being safe to assume the CoE sets a tenable pattern for unofficial, parish-level rites around blessing SSUs. The real sticking point will be around the election of another partnered gay bishop. Still, it seems there may be a number of ways forward; e.g. the bishop is gay, but becomes partnered only some time after election. There is no logical inconsistency here that should prevent assent to moratoria.

The Communion qua institution will see things as an institution, but it is surely true that the life of the church is largely outside the bounds of the necessary institution, and it is there we might find the life of the Spirit, in a type of exile looking forward to the day when institution and Spirit are brought closer together. It will take alot of work.